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Washington Bear Hunting Season Dates

Black Bear Hunting Season Details

Here are the details for the Black Bear hunting season in Washington:

  • Season Dates: August 1 - November 15
  • Area Restriction: Fall bear hunting is banned on GMUs 157, 490, and 522. Bear hunting in GMU 485 requires a specific deer or elk permit.
  • License Required: A valid big-game hunting license with a black bear option is required.
  • Second Black Bear License/Tag: Hunters may buy two black bear transit tags/licenses, but a second black bear requires a new transport tag/license.
  • Bag Limit: Two black bears per licensing year are allowed.
  • Hunting Method: Any legal weapon may be used to hunt black bear. No bait or hounds are authorized for bear hunting (RCW 77.15.245).
  • Female with Cubs: Hunters should avoid shooting a mother with cubs. In the autumn, mothers may travel with 30-50 lb pups, which do not go quickly. Be patient before shooting.
  • Bear Identification Test: Hunters in certain GMUs must score 80% or better on the yearly WDFW online bear identification exam and provide confirmation of passing or an equivalent from another state.
  • Where to Shoot a Bear: The best shot is broadside, behind the bear's upper arm as it advances.
  • Identification of Grizzly and Black Bear: Federal and state laws prohibit shooting or killing grizzlies. Some GMUs require bear identification tests.
  • Mandatory Submission of Bear Teeth: WAC 220-415-090 requires all bear hunters to submit their first premolar tooth within 5 days of harvest, or by December 1, 2023. Send teeth in WDFW's pre-paid, self-addressed mortality envelope.
  • Age Verification: An external laboratory ages teeth up to six months following the fall big game hunting season.
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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.